Gardner police officers solved four thefts using good, old-fashioned police work, chief Gerry Cullumber said.
Area police were on the look-out for a vehicle that had been used in a theft of copper parts in an air conditioning unit at New Century Fieldhouse. A white van had been recorded on surveillance video.
When Officer Nick Wright noticed a suspicious white van in the Walmart parking lot at 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 16, he found two people asleep inside.
“Officer Wright recognized a suspect vehicle, initiated contact and ended up solving four thefts,” Cullumber explained.
While speaking with the individuals, Wright noticed what appeared to be copper components in the back of the van. The conversation ended at the Gardner police station.
Though there were two people in the van, only one appeared to be involved in a series of thefts including one in Olathe and a substantial theft from Ottawa.
Police arrested James David Stone, Olathe. He is charged in Johnson County for seven counts of theft and criminal damage. He is also a suspect for thefts as far away as Springfield, Mo.
“Sometimes people short change officers and say they’re ‘Mayberry,’” Cullumber said. “But this was good police work all the way around. It has to start with that officer who is responsible, who is committed.”